A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld is NOT a Prophet....

Two days ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield gave his now infamous speech before the American Legion. During the speech, Rummy compared critics of the Bush administration to those who sought to appease the Nazis before World War II. He warned that the United States is confronting "a new type of fascism."

You can read the Washington Post article HERE and a transcript of Rummy's speech HERE.

Last night's broadcast of Countdown on MSNBC was one of those rare television moments which deserves to be seen and heard. In the world we live in, mainstream journalists are often afraid to speak truth to power for various reasons. Truth was spoken Wednesday night on MSNBC. Keith Olbermann stepped into the big shoes of legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow during a 7 minute monologue. Olbermann must be praised for taking Rummy to task for "undermining our democracy."

Olbermann has earned your attention. Take a moment to read his commentary below or click here to watch the Video....
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong. In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless. That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy. Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards. His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones. That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And, as such, all voices count -- not just his. Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego. But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically. And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too. The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.” As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it. This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow. But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.” Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. “We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blessed are the Poor...

According to a recent Census Bureau report, the number of Americans without health insurance has increased from 1.3 million to 46.6 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And a snippet via Common Dreams....

Children accounted for 8.3 million of the uninsured, up from 7.9 million in 2004. Nearly 1 in 5 impoverished children lacked coverage in 2005, and 22 percent of Hispanic children were uninsured.

The new estimates, part of an annual census survey, mark the fifth straight year that the ranks of the uninsured have increased. The new data, which show that nearly 16 percent of Americans lack health coverage, caught many by surprise because unemployment rates were fairly stable last year.

In addition to Iraq and Katrina, add these numbers to the legacy of George W. Bush

Having just returned from a 15-night hospital stay, I know first hand that hospital costs are out of control. The metal rod surgically placed in my left leg cost nearly 3,000 dollars. The screws which hold the rod in place run for nearly 400 bucks apiece. My total bill equaled close to 100,000 smackers. Luckily, I'm insured.

But what about those 46 million uninsured Americans???

Let's rally together and Vote for Change this November.

George Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress must be held accountable!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Racist in the White House?

Talk2Action contributor Max Blumenthal has an EXPLOSIVE online article at The Nation entitled "Beyond Macaca: The Photograph That Haunts George Allen."

A picture speaks a thousand words - so listen to the picture speak!

Blumenthal's article is a must-read....here is a snippet to quench your thirst....

Only a decade ago, as governor of Virginia, Allen personally initiated an association with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups.

...After speaking with CCC founder and former White Citizens Council organizer Gordon Lee Baum and two of his cohorts, Allen suggested that they pose for a photograph with then-National Rifle Association spokesman and actor Charlton Heston. The photo appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC's newsletter, the Citizens Informer.

According to Baum, Allen had not naively stumbled into a chance meeting with unfamiliar people. He knew exactly who and what the CCC was about and, from Baum's point of view, was engaged in a straightforward political transaction. "It helped us as much as it helped him," Baum told me. "We got our bona fides." And so did Allen.

Descended from the White Citizens' Councils...the CCC is designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In its "Statement of Principles," the CCC declares, "We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called "affirmative action" and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races."

Now, I love Virginia (after all VA is for Lovers). I've spent many "vacations" in Richmond. I also have a special place in my Dirty-Bird heart for Joe Gibb's Redskins.

But damnit, I hate racists. I grew up with quite a few racists in South Georgia. As a 5th grader, my pops and I watched with shock as the local high school (Montgomery County) crowned a White Homecoming Queen and a Black Princess during a halftime ceremony. In Junior High, my English teacher dropped the N-word. My Junior Class sponsored two proms - a school-sponsored prom and a private prom for whites only. Meanwhile, our rival school held three separate proms - one for the white kids, one for the black kids, and one for the hispanic kids. I could go on and on - but I'll stop...

Plain and simple, George Allen disgusts me...

We've known that George Allen has had a "race problem" for quite some time. As the Governor of Virginia, Allen opposed a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King. In the late 90's, Allen issued a Confederate History Month proclamation calling the Civil War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights." Apparently, he forgot about slavery.

Lest we forget that Confederate flag and noose that Mr. Allen kept in his office until recently.

And just last week Allen made his now infamous Macaca slur. In case you missed this story, Senator Allen was caught on camera mocking S.R. Sidarth, a 20-year old Virginian native of Indian descent who had been following him on the campaign trail. Allen referred to Sidarth as a "macaca" which is a term for monkeys that is used as an ethnic slur in certain parts of the world.

I've given George Allen the benefit of the doubt one time too many.

George Allen WILL NOT get another free pass....

Like I've posted before, Republicans (and their essential corollary - Southern Baptists) will have some tough decisions to make in 2008.

Will they vote for one of three Adulterers (Guliani, Gingrich, McCain) or a Racist (George Allen).

Perhaps SBCers will support Massachusetts Governor Mit Romney - a Mormon?

Or maybe, just maybe, SBCers will Divorce the GOP and support a Democrat?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bloggin or Babblin???

Executive Editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger Ray Sanders is a loon.

Check out his recent editorial on the evils of blogs...

Blogging is the craze among many teenagers. Although I don't recommend it, many teens have set up personal profiles on blog sites. But it is not just the kids who have taken to the worldwide Web to bare their souls and other things in some cases! Yes, many adults are now banging away at the keyboard posting their most recent thoughts and photos on everything from a recent vacation, late night ponderings, politics and, oh yes, religion.
And my favorite snippet here....
Trust me. It is a growing sickness among the brethren. Somehow we have forgotten that the world will know we are Christians by our love, not our blabbing on blogs.


Mr. Sanders - Welcome to the 21st Century....

Give Peace a Chance?

Rarely do I find myself in agreement with the SBC Bloggers.

But please check out Marty Duren's recent post entitled "Article XVI and Looking for Peace."

Article XVI of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads...
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

The Rev. Duren writes...

Of course, neither is the BFM2K at odds with absolute pacifism even though relatively few (percentage wise) Southern Baptists would hold that position. Interestingly, virtually all the scriptures cited in support of the Article more closely mirror pacifism than Just War (which is the position that I hold)....
My point is simply to remind that Article XVI actually calls for Southern Baptists to actively work for peace, a position normally held by those in some mainline denominations or confirmed liberals.....
This call to actively work for peace demonstrates a difficulty with the BFM2K: most people, regardless of how biblical they attempt to be, simply are not “doing everything in their power to bring an end to war.”

Kudos to the Rev. Duren and other SBC Bloggers who are FINALLY raising concerns regarding the Pro-War stance that the Southern Baptist Convention has taken in recent years.

Perhaps, Duren & Company will speak out more against the imminent dangers of idolatrous civil religion (i.e. religious nationalism) which is commonplace throughout the SBC. All Baptists, whether they be Southern Baptists, American Baptists, Alliance, or Fellowship Baptists, MUST be pro-active and work together with other concerned citizens, regardless of their religious faith or lack thereof, to counter the Pro-War political agenda of the Religious Right.

Seems like NOW is a good time for Southern Baptists to divorce the Republican Party...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Baptist Heroes

Unfortunately, the word "Baptist" has been polluted by "neo-pharassical fundamentalists" over the past 20 years. For this reason alone, young Moderates such as myself need Baptist heroes to remind us of our true Heritage.

Many Moderates revere great Baptists such as Ralph Elliot, Will Campbell, Cecil Sherman, E.Y. Mullins, Clarence Jordan, J.M. Dawson, and Walter Rauschenbusch (to name a few). William H. Whitsitt is a favorite of my father. Many of my friends claim Tony Campolo, Molly Marshall, and Walter Shurden as heroes.

But let me introduce ya to MY Baptist Hero....Dr. James M. Dunn

James Dunn has been described by his friend, Grady Cothen, as a "church going, Christ honoring, evil bashing, separation of church and state enthusiast." Texas Congressman Chet Edwards has referred to Dunn as the "Rosa Parks of the Religious Liberty issue."

After earning degrees at Texas Wesleyan University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the London School of Economics, Dunn was tapped to replace Jimmy Allen as the Executive Director of the Christian Life Commission of Texas Baptists in 1968. As Executive Director, Dunn gave focus to issues such as race relations, drug and alcohol abuse, the threat of liberalized gambling laws, juvenile justice, prison reform, workers' compensation for farm workers and world hunger relief.

In 1981, James Dunn left Texas to become the Executive-Director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs. During the 80's, Dunn aggressively stood up to Ronald Reagan's attempt to rewrite the Constitution (i.e. Constitutional Prayer Amendment of 1982). In typical James Dunn fashion, he responded to Reagan's "grave and serious sin"...

“You hear it called ‘putting God in schools.’ It is as if the Divine could be dumped into a wheelbarrow and carted out. The charge that everything went wrong because they threw prayer out of schools is patent poppycock.” He further argued that “to make public prayer a political football is to deny the meaning of prayer...The God whom I worship and serve has a perfect attendance record, never absent or even tardy."
While James Dunn was kicking butt and taking names on Capitol Hill, Southern Baptist Fundamentalists had begun to wage a war against Dunn's Baptist Joint Committee. Dunn's focus on soul freedom was incompatible with these fundamentalist's focus on government favored religion and theological control expressed through creedalism. Dunn's firm affirmation of uncoerced faith is evidence that soul freedom was a threat to men such as Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler.

James Dunn fought the fundamentalists for nearly a decade. Finally, in 1991 the Southern Baptist Convention officially dissolved all financial ties with the Baptist Joint Committee and effectively ended a fifty-five year relationship. However, the SBC was unable to bring the religious liberty watchdog to her knees. In subsequent years, Dunn successfully found funding sources for the BJC. As we all know, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty continues its ministry today with the support of fourteen different Baptist groups.

James Dunn is one of the most colorful figures in recent Baptist history. He spoke (and still speaks) about important theological issues with down-home language in a way that any person could understand "in their innards." James Dunn refused to remain silent or capitulate when conscience was at stake. In 2000, upon receiving an award for his contributions to Baptist life, Dunn was still firing away...

I’ll be jiggered if a batch of neo-pharisaical, power-mad politicians, frazzling fundamentalists, trapped in a truncated theology were going to redefine religious liberty. Those limited lights were not about to destroy the witness of J. M. Dawson, take over the Baptist Joint Committee, and water down what it means to be a Baptist.

Without a doubt, James Dunn is a true Baptist Hero - MY Hero.

For a copy of my seminar paper on Dr. Dunn - please follow this LINK.

Note: This post was cross-posted at the new Mainstream Baptists Group Blog. Please check it out. I will highlight this new group blog and its contributors in a future post!

Hospital Bloggin....

LIVE from Hillcrest Hospital.....a Baptist Hospital.

11 days ago, my father and I began a 9 mile journey to the campus of Baylor University. I was riding in the passenger seat of my father's 2006 Honda Civic and holding my 9 month old Italian Greyhound named Rudy. Our plans were to hang a few Jimmy Carter posters on the walls of my new apartment.

1 mile into our journey, a Windstar mini-van driven by a 16 year old girl inexplicably pulled out in front of our vehicle. The speed limit was 55. My dad was cruising at 50. After a hard slam of the brakes, we crashed into the Windstar (T-Bone style). The Windstar flipped completely over. Our airbags exploded. My left leg tightened as my head hit the dashboard. My femur snapped in half and poked its way through my skin.

As our car rolled to a stop, I lifted my head to see my dog at my feet. Her tiny head had multiple drops of blood on it - my blood. My dad screamed out that he smelled fuel. I manually unlocked the car door and slung my body from the passenger seat to the hot cement road below.

For the next 20 minutes, I laid on the hot Texas ground as the good EMT folk painfully secured my neck and body to a hard plastic board and eventually hoisted this Big Daddy Weave onto the stretcher.

End Result: My dad sprained his wrist. The 16 year old and her parents in the mini-van escaped without a scratch. My 10-pound Italian Greyhound was not harmed and is still alive and obnoxious.

However, I broke my femur which will take 6 months to heal. 11 days after the accident, I can now walk 200+ feet with my walker. Tentatively, I will finally be released from the hospital on Wednesday the 30th. Until then, I will continue my daily 3-hour physical rehab workouts with my new Hillcrest friends - all have suffered hip, leg, or knee injuries and all are 50 years older than myself.

For the next 4-6 months, I will be homebound.

I appreciate everyone's continued prayers as I learn to take care of myself and walk again.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Aaron in an Accident

To the friends of Aaron and readers of his blog....

Monday evening (8/14), Aaron was in a car accident.

Riding with his father (the driver), a car pulled out in front of their Civic on the way to Aaron's apartment at Baylor. They T-Boned the car.

Aaron broke his femur bone (upper left leg) and he suffered cuts to his head.

Aaron spent 4 hours on the operating table and four days in a regular hospital bed. On Friday the 18th, Aaron was placed in the Comp Rehab wing of Hillcrest Hospital in Waco. He will stay there for at least another week.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Dobson and Family Get Tossed from Turner Field!

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that the Atlanta Braves barred James Dobson's Focus on the Family from participating in Sunday's "Faith Day" postgame activities held at Turner Field.

Here's a snippet...
The Atlanta Braves will mix baseball with the gospel when they hold another "Faith Day" this weekend. But one of the country's most prominent Christian organizations has been tossed out of the game.

Focus on the Family, a group founded by James Dobson and based in Colorado Springs, Colo., was barred from participating in Sunday's postgame activities after sponsoring the first such event at Turner Field last month.

While the team wouldn't provide a reason for its decision, several gay rights groups on the Web bristled with speculation that Focus on the Family was given the boot for promoting its belief that homosexuality is a social problem comparable to alcoholism, gambling or depression.

This Yankee fan sends out an extra-special TOMAHAWK CHOP to the Braves for their decision....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dishonesty in the SBC....

A follow up to my last post....

ATTENTION Russ Moore, Steve Lemke, Malcolm Yarnell, Gregory Tomlin, and the other folks at the Independent & Free Baptist Press.

Please take a moment from attacking the CBF and teaching your kids to be violent and follow these steps....

1. Visit the SBC.net website dedicated to searching for local Southern Baptist churches.

2. In the first box, type in "Waco, TX" without the quotations. Click Search.

3. Included in this LONG list of Waco-area Southern Baptist churches are...

1. 7th & James Baptist Church

7th & James Baptist Church (located on the campus of Baylor University) financially supports Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmon, George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercery University, Associated Baptist Press, Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Texas Baptist Committed, and the Baptist World Alliance.

Sound like a Southern Baptist church????????

2. Calvary Baptist Church

Google "Calvary Baptist Church" and you will find that CBC describes itself as a "friendly moderate baptist church." The pastor of Calvary is JULIE Pennington-Russell. Three years ago, my family joined Calvary. Calvary in no way, shape or form is a Southern Baptist church.

3. Lakeshore Baptist Church

Lakeshore affiliates with the Alliance of Baptists, CBF, and the BGCT.

4. Dayspring Baptist Church

According to the Dayspring website, DBC affiliates ONLY with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Talk about dishonesty! I have contacted the Baptist Press for a comment. Perhaps a Southern Baptist out in the blogosphere could explain away this blatant fudging of numbers. Of the 40,000+ congregations that the SBC brags about - how many actually give a DIME to the Southern Baptist Convention??

Like I said before, Daniel Vestal is honest - how 'bout the SBC????

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Red Herring starring the CBF

On Friday, the Independent Baptist Press released not one, but two articles critical of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

The first of the two articles written by Gregory Tomlin, entitled "SBC, CBF Seminaries Differ in Educational Approach," accuses CBF affiliated seminaries/divinity schools of "leaching off of non-Baptist universities and seminaries for educational support." Tomlin's second article, "CBF Church Count Violates Church Autonomy", claims that the CBF's method of counting members violates local church autonomy!

Those of us out here in the peanut gallery often wonder why the Southern Baptist Convention continues to rag on the CBF? Baptist Press loves to show how small the CBF really is. If that is correct, why then should the largest Protestant (are you really protestant???) body in America be bothered by the tiny CBF? Perhaps its because the SBC always needs an enemy to bash. OR is this a red herring; chase after the CBF when Southern Baptists are engaged in a Battle Royal among themselves?? With no biblical harmony in sight, ya gotta chase after the good ole CBF?

So Russ Moore, Mark Lemke, Malcolm Yarnell, and the folks of the Baptist Press are worried about how the little-ole Cooperative Baptist Fellowship counts churches? Maybe it's just me - but shouldn't Southern Baptists be concerned about how they count baptisms. That is the key to the SBC's numerical success, correct? But has the SBC leadership ever had the integrity to acknowledge that baptizing Methodists and Presbyterians (and they are now joining because of the Calvinist renewal within the SBC) IS NOT the same thing as baptizing new converts.

When will the SBC develop a counting procedure which acknowledges that MANY baptisms are second, third, or even fourth in some hellfire and brimstone churches - rather than the baptism of a convert??

Go ahead and bash CBF counting; Vestal is honest - how 'bout the SBC???

In the article entitled "SBC, CBF Seminaries Differ in Educational Approach," Tomlin writes...

Adherence to that confessional perspective has led many CBF leaders to charge that SBC seminaries are more concerned with indoctrinating than educating. But Moore, Yarnell and Lemke all agree that "indoctrination" is a term they do not find offensive.

As for indoctrination, it's nice to know that Yarnell, Lemke and the omniscient Moore like the word. I was temporarily impressed at their honesty. But then they defined the word to suit themselves (something they accused the liberal of in the article). Seems that they think indoctrination is just teaching doctrine. Of couse most people know the popular definition of the term is a type of teaching that spoon feeds on particular view, disallows dissent and doesn't allow anyone to think.

Why are Moore & Company so anxious about CBF seminary enrollment anyway? Proportionately, I would hope that a body of 40,000 plus churches did have more seminary students than a teeny weeny body like the CBF (or so they say).

On the subject of taking classes at non-Baptist schools, I guess that real education is a mystery to SBC administrators. They equate ecumenism with infidelity. Hmmm. Seems quite a few evangelical scholars that Southern Baptists like to read were educated at institutions outside the SBC, even Ivy League Schools?

But back to my original question - WHY is the Baptist Press bothering itself with the CBF?

Must be trying to whip up on an old enemy because Southern Baptists can't get along with themselves....

Friday, August 11, 2006

SBCers and Beer

In my last post, I called on 4 of the most outspoken men engaged in the Alcohol War being waged in Southern Baptist circles to publicly endorse an increase in the Federal Excise Tax on Alcohol.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), alcohol-related problems cost American society nearly $200 billion per year and cause as many as 100,000 deaths annually. Most states have not increased alcohol taxes in decades. These dormant tax rates have contributed to a "gradual and substantial decline in the price of alcoholic beverages." Increasing the Federal Excise Tax on beverage-alcohol will deter underage use, reduce traffic-crash fatalities, and decrease alcohol-related health problems.

A mere Five Penny tax increase will yield more than $20 billion in new revenue over the next five years!

A national poll conducted in November 2005 found that 56 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats support a federal tax increase on alcoholic beverages.

After passing the infamous Alcohol Resolution in Greensboro - the question still begs....

Will Southern Baptists support this Nickel Tax Increase on Wine, Beer, and other Spirits???

Will the Abstinence-Only James Merritt types find some consistency and support this initiative??

Will the Memphis Declaration types take this step to disprove the myth that they are Alcohol Promoters??

Contact your Representative and Senators. Make a phone call. Send a simple email. Follow this LINK for instructions and more information on CSPI's Alcohol Policies Project.

Baptists and Natty Light...

Al Mohler done did it. He's stuck his fundy-feet into the ongoing alcohol war being waged throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.

As reported by EthicsDaily.com, the President of Southern Seminary has declared that the Bible doesn't demand total abstinence from alcohol!

You can read the transcript of Mohler's radio program HERE and Bob Allen's story on the subject at EthicsDaily.com

Dr. Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics has also weighed in on the "alcohol war"...

Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, said such intense debate over alcohol "would never have taken place when moderate Baptists had stewardship of the SBC." That, he said, is because moderates read the Bible differently than fundamentalists. Moderates viewed Jesus as "the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted," he said, and "used that principle with spiritual discernment to determine moral behavior within a respected faith tradition."

That contrasted with fundamentalists, who trotted out the claim, "The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it." One seminary president stated it: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it all comes down to. The issue is whether the Bible is the word of God or merely a record of God's word." "That kind of simplistic absolutism has now bred a literalistic generation which says drinking is okay, while disregarding the clear, albeit non-literalistic, biblical admonition that not everything that is right is the right thing to do," Parham said.

"On a practical note, perhaps both warring factions could come together to advocate for an increase in the federal excise tax on alcohol, one of the best ways to curb alcohol-related problems, for which many of us in the pro-health community have pushed for decades."


Now I know that most Southern Baptists are Republicans and Republicans hate taxes with a passion that would deny a working single-mother the right to make more than $5.15 an hour - but an increase in the Federal Excise Tax on Alcohol makes a helluva lot of sense!

Will Wade Burleson endorse such a tax? Can I get a second from Danny Akin? How 'bout it Ben Cole? Where ya at James Merritt??

Granted, a tax increase on alcohol might force some to drink their wine from a box instead of a bottle. Some may have to replace their Bud Light with Natural Light. But, hey - it'll be like college (ahem, seminary) all over again...

Seriously... Yea or Nea?

Big Oil and Southern Baptists

Over at EthicsDaily.com, Brian Kaylor has an excellent article exposing the close relationship of the Oil Industry to the signers of a statement released by the anti-global warming Interfaith Stewardship Alliance.

According to Kaylor, eight of the signers (including one of the four authors) work for six organizations that have received a total of $2.32 million in donations from ExxonMobil over the last three years. Not only do these fellas have Big Oil support, but two of these men have been connected to the Jack Abrahmoff scandal....

Conflict of Interest anyone???....

Of those putting their John Hancock on the statement were 8 Southern Baptists including...

1. Gregg Allison of SBTS
2. James Borland of Liberty University
3. Kent Chambers of Hardin-Simmons University in Abiliene
4. Reginald Ecarma of North Greenville University (CENTRIFUGE!!!)
5. Gary Gray of Southwest Baptist University
6. Michael Salazar of Union University
7. Gregory Thornbury of Union University
8. David Whitlock of Southwest Baptist University

Fortunately, 8 intellectually-honest Southern Baptists signed a statement released by the Evangelical Climate Initiative last February calling Evangelicals to Action on the critical reality of global warming.

They include...

1. David Clark of Palm Beach Atlantic University
2. David Dockery of Union University
3. Douglas Hodo of Houston Baptist University
4. Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School
5. David Gushee of Union University
6. Lee Royce of Mississippi College
7. Pat Taylor of Southwest Baptist Univesity
8. Rick Warren

Unfortunately, the Southern Baptist Convention still doubts the dangers of global warming. See my previous post entitled "It's The Environment, Stupid" on the SBC's recent anti-environment resolution...

Nonetheless, it's refreshing to see Southern Baptists such as Timothy George and David Dockery taking a public stand FOR the Environment as Baptist leaders such as Tony Campolo, Stan Hastey, Al Gore, and President Jimmy Carter already have...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

C-Ya Cynthia!

As a proud absentee voter from the 4th district of Georgia.....

C-Ya Cynthia!

Please do not blame THIS loss on the Jews or the Republicans.

The good folks of Dekalb County, Georgia deserve better than YOU!

Discrimination At Its Finest...

Robert Marus of the Associated Baptist Press reports that the Alliance of Baptists have been fined $34,000 for "allegedly engaging in tourist activities while in Cuba for religious purposes.."

Dr. Bruce Prescott is also on top of this story at Mainstream Baptist.

This is just another disgusting example of the Bush Administration restricting religious freedom...

I wonder if the Alliance was an ultra-conservative evangelical religious organization - would they have been targeted and discriminated against as well...???

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A REAL Baptist?

Below is a short and simple column by Dr. James Dunn (former Exec. Director of the BJC)...

How to recognize a "real" Baptist if you see one.........

By James M. Dunn

1. If soul liberty is important.

2. If the priesthood of all believers is more than a slogan.

3. If one insists on interpreting the Scriptures for themselves.

4. If one defends the right of each person to come to the Bible and, led by the spirit, seek its truth.

5. If one believes that one must accept Jesus Christ personally.

6. If the church functions as a democracy.

7. If in the fellowship of churches each one is autonomous.

8. If there is no pope or presbyter, president or pastor who rules over you.

9. If religious liberty is the password to public witness and the separation of church and state is its essential corollary.

10. If no mortal has the power to suppress, curtail, rule out, or reign over the will of the local congregation.

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